A modern day adaptation of the Henry James novel, What Maisie Knew is an emotionally-charged, delicately authentic knockout tale of a child learning to circumnavigate an adult world while maintaining her wide-eyed exuberance about life and its potential in the process.
Unlike a lot of summer monstrosities that label themselves as being nothing more than “dumb fun” but forget to treat the audience with respect, Fast & Furious 6 remembers that people who do in fact watch this might actually have brain. While the movie itself is pretty stupid, it doesn’t treat viewers as being so themselves, understanding and respecting the audience in a way big budget enterprises of similar ilk rarely do.
It’s ebullient and joyous but still laced without the proper amount of pain and pathos, everything working in incandescent tandem with its various pieces in order to make the movie come alive to its own free-flowing beat. Make no mistake, Frances Ha is a stunning achievement, an exercise in pure cinema that’s as rare as it is spectacular.
The Wolfpack have lost their bark, been declawed and certainly no longer have anything close to resembling a bite, and I for one am thankful I won’t have to be running through the cinematic forest with them again anytime soon.
Problem is, after so much build up, after a great introduction to the possibilities of doing something fresh and original with characters many of us might think have done it all, the movie doesn’t just drop the ball it pops it with a bobby pin leaving its shriveled and lifeless husk out on the playing field like bits of discarded garbage. The last third of the movie is an insult, having characters do things, not because they need to, but more because having them do it just calls more attention to the fact the filmmakers are repeating in their own mirror-world way what has already happened before.
His version of the story might not be perfect, might not know at all times exactly what it is it wants to say, but it understands the source material in an intimately intoxicating way other adaptions have sadly lacked. This movie feels like it needed to be made now, maybe even in this very way, this new take on The Great Gatsby a saga of artifice and excess worthy of deeper explorations.
Kiss of the Damned shows that Cassavetes is worth keeping an eye on, her gorily sexual debut a vampiric fairy tale the more I think about it the more in rapture of the film I slowly become.
The magic, mayhem, merriment, madness and mirth perplexingly stripped away, Midnight’s Children is a sometimes fascinating and handsomely mounted curiosity but nothing more, and by the time it was over the only thing I wanted to do was return to the source material and rediscover what all the fuss had been about.
Sightseers shows once again that Wheatley is an inspired talent willing to bend genre to his will, this cult favorite in the making a sick and twisted gem overflowing with gory inspiration that drips from every single one of its razor-sharp comedic claws.